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If shark fishing is your thing, you’d better get going

September 27, 2019
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With temperatures hovering in the 90s, shark fishing from boats or beaches is still a good bet if you like stretching your string and back muscles. Many of these fish move south with the tarpon migration, so if sharking is your thing, times wasting.

Before planning your fun evening on the beach where dreams of landing and releasing a 1,000-pound hammerhead in the surf crowds your thoughts, make sure you know the newest rule changes before your evening fishing for the man in the grey suit turns into a multiple ticket offense courtesy of the man in the green uniform.

You mean I just can't run down to the beach anymore and go shark fishing? But, this is America! I get that but in an attempt to protect this incredibly important and heavily abused species, higher powers have put in place new rules to protect sharks and educate anglers.

First things A land-based shark angler must complete an "online educational module with a quiz" which not too long ago before the world went crazy meant, a short film and some questions. (See FWC online.) No, the government doesn't have its hand in your wallet again! The permit is free. After competing said test, you're issued your ID number for your permit and almost ready to go sharking!

Hold on. Not yet.

Check your tackle. Only non-stainless, in-line circle hooks allowed. Wire cutting and release tools are mandatory. The online tutorial will bring you up to speed.

It's understood that shark populations worldwide are suffering and the species continues to be decimated in many parts of the oceans where long-line fishing with thousands of baited hooks per line and barbaric "finning" (the practice of catching the shark, removing the fins and shoveling or kicking the helpless living animal now considered "bycatch" back into the sea to die) kill untold thousands each year mostly to satisfy the huge seafood demands of Asia. In Japan, a bowl of shark fin soup can cost as much as $100. I understand you can enjoy the soup with a whale entre which are still brutally killed with harpoon cannons from their whaling fleet's hunter ships.

Nearly 2020. Hard to believe this still goes on. Barbaric and unnecessary.

Southwest Florida flats anglers' love the hard runs and bulldog fight of a big redfish as well as the power and acrobatics of a good snook in a foot of seawater. I do as well, but a 4-foot suddenly unhappy shark with a mouthful of my plug or fly throwing a big bulging straight line torpedo wake as it burns through 50-75 yards of snook tackle lite braid or deep into the fly reel's backing is still pretty darn exciting.

If the constant wind is keeping you inshore, put away your 52-foot sport fisherman and get out your skinny water skiff for some of the year's best inshore fishing.

Tarpon, some still seen in the passes, along the beaches and in the river systems as well as Charlotte harbor, will soon head south to follow those that have already gone, leaving their golden, tannin stained, Cape Coral-loving, tarpon cousins behind till next year.

Never underestimate the power of the day-old smelly shrimp. Aboard my boat the biggest redfish of the week was caught after we had used up all the bait in the live wells. Clients weren't the casting types and with an hour to go this presented a problem.

I suddenly spotted a good sized, half stepped on and partially crushed, rapidly decaying, bad excuse for a medium sized shrimp from the previous day's trip wedged under the console. Within seconds it was impaled and flying through the air landing perfectly a foot under the mangroves and within another 30 seconds was inhaled by a fat copper 8-pound-class, redfish of the week.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com.



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